Pumpkin Cookie Butter Cake

Middletown, Connecticut has been unbearably humid recently. I’ve woken up too many times only to shuffle myself into a cooler side. Veronica and I have settled in fairly well, as well as our two other housemates.

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That’s right: HOUSEmates.

Veronica and I now live in a charming four-person house. There’s a full kitchen and a walk-in pantry, meaning we get a lot of cooking space this time. A definite upgrade for our small-but-respectable apartment from junior year. We’re on a Quiet street, meaning less strangers (frosh) knocking on our door, looking for the party. Wesleyan is pretty generous in its housing policies; I can think of few other schools that allow students to have on-campus houses.

Academics-wise, I can tell it’s going to be a fairly stressful semester. It’s only Drop/Add season at school, meaning we students can still shop around for classes to fill up our schedules. At the time of writing, I am signed up for an unbelievable total of eight classes (when the average courseload is four). They’re all with great professors so I don’t know how to make the cuts. This might mean a lot of posts about sweets for our blog.

While pumpkin season is technically still a few weeks away, I’ve gone ahead and started it off with this cake concoction. I needed something to distract me from the impending responsibilities. This is derived from a simple pumpkin loaf recipe. It has transformed something breakfast appropriate and healthy into something a little heavier and rich.

Biscoff Cookie Butter

I thought of using cookie butter because Veronica bought me two jars earlier this summer. If you’ve never had it before, here’s how I usually explain it: peanut butter is made from crushing peanuts and cookie butter is made by crushing ginger snap-like cookies. It’s smooth and thick like nut butter but much sweeter and much more addicting. Once you have a spoonful, it’s hard to put down. You can find Biscoff Spread nowadays in most large supermarkets, right next to the plebeian peanut butter. Trader Joe’s has their own brand called Speculoos but I’ve never had it.

This cake is a quick dessert and easy to whip up for the unexpected craving or dinner guest. The result is ultimately moist, sweet, but not overly decadent. The pumpkin and the cookie butter really play well together in this recipe, since they both benefit from the cinnamon flavor within the cake. If you’re looking for a fall dessert without ruining your summer figure (too much), check this one out. At some point in the future, I’d like to turn this into a full, two-layer cake with frosting and everything.

Also you’ll notice that the pictures below feature some odd choices in bowls and utensils. We were still unpacking and most of our kitchenware was still in storage. The pictures above were taken when we had finally unpacked and arranged the space.

 

Pumpkin Cookie Butter Cake

Heavily adapted from Simply Recipes
Makes one 10-inch cake

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I bet you could use whole wheat flour, but I haven’t personally tried it)
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
¼ cup milk**
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (this is roughly half the contents of a 13.5 ounce can)
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup cookie butter spread, divided
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

*Don’t have pumpkin pie spice? Use apple pie spice, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg instead. This latter substitution won’t be as spicy (so to speak) as pumpkin pie spice but if you’re lacking, cinnamon and nutmeg are enough.

**I really recommend cow’s milk, and whole milk if available. I do not recommend substituting non-dairy milk.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter up or spray nonstick cooking oil a 10-inch springform cake pan.

Whisk dry ingredients (flour, spices, salt, baking soda) in one bowl (or clean takeout container if you’re desperate). Mix wet ingredients (vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, ¼ cup cookie butter) in another. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Fold until just combined — don’t over mix.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining ½ cup cookie butter. Swirl cookie butter around the top of the batter. I like to swirl it around pretty well to make little swirls around the cake instead of having large chunks.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick pushed in the center comes out clean. Check closely around the 25-30 minutes mark. The cake will rise and brown beautifully. Once done, let cool for in pan to room temperature or until you are comfortable handling it.

Slice, plate, and munch with a heaping cup of tea.

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